NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Rotary Club’s last opportunities to recognize the outstanding leaders and members of the Interact Club at North Plainfield High School occurred at the May 31 meeting. 

The Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield presented Student of the Month Awards to five Interact Club members (another was unable to attend) and the first ever Student of the Year award to another exceptional Interact member.

The Rotarians enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the Interact Club at North Plainfield High School. They benefit and support each other with their various programs and activities. For example, the kids work very hard to help Rotarians with scholarship fundraising at Rutgers concessions; in return, they dedicate the club's F. S. Mathewson Scholarship awards to members of Interact only. Five students this year each received a $1,000 scholarship award.

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Another example of how Rotarians give back to the Interact Club is purchasing their club shirts, a gift in return for their gift of service. Student of the Year Yanqing Liang took a moment at the recent Student of the Month Awardsluncheon to acknowledge how much this means to Interact by presenting a hand-made card and a shirt to show their appreciation. “What a beautiful and meaningful ‘thank you!,’ said club President Ravenell Williams. 

A highlight of recognizing Interact members’ achievement is the presentation of the Student of the Month Awards. At the club meeting on May 31, six of these awards were presented. Faris Elkhouli, Jhoanna Garcia, Kevin Avalos, Kevin Forrester, Brendan Cheung, and Nakita Forrester were recognized with awards. Due to a family emergency, Kevin Avalos was not present, but received his award from Interact Club Adviser Alexandra Pereira. 

The Rotary Club also presented its first ever Student of the Year Award to recognize the special contributions of the Interact Club’s Yanqing Liang. Yanqing was a four-year stalwart in the Interact Club, contributing her talents and her attention to detail to many projects, including the Rotary Club’s Track and Field Meet. “We needed someone who could work with our Track officials to assist recording results and distributing slips to the winners that they turn in for medals,” said Meet Director Michael Townley. “Yanqingdid such a wonderful job that we asked her to repeat that role for the past three years.” 

Pereira introduced each recipient and presented the awards, saying a few words about the Interact member's contributions to the club and to her. The recipients then gave a brief presentation of their own, universally thanking Pereira for her leadership and for helping them mature into leadership roles. They also acknowledged the benefits of membership in the Interact Club and how much they appreciated the service opportunities that Interact opened to them. 

"There are few clubs that I can say have impacted me in all aspects of high school experience, but Interact Club is one of them. This club has helped me grow in leadership, service, and gratitude for everything I have been given. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to meet great people and an inspiring adviser."  Nikita Forrester

"Joining Interact was the best decision I've made in my high school career. It made me more empathetic, more selfless, and it made me more involved. It allowed me to meet amazing people that are truly kind-hearted. I learned that a little kindness can go a long way."  Kevin Forrester

"Through my time in Interact, I have learned social skills, how to work well with others, and responsibility. Interact wasn't just your average extracurricular activity, it was a good way to give back to the people in our community by picking up trash (on Clean Up Day), going to help out at the Rutgers games, and cleaning up the beach.  This club has allowed me to become a better person."  Jhoanna Garcia

"I enjoy what I can accomplish in Interact. The advisers and members are great people. I help them and they are always willing to help us out, too, like we are a big family. Through Interact I can give back to the people what they gave to me - their time, service, and appreciation. Whether it is helping at the Rutgers games, tending the gardens at the farm, or even going to Beach Sweep, I feel better at the end of the day bacause I used my time to give back."  Brendan Cheung

"I would like to say that it is such a great honor to be here for the second time. I am very passionate about helping the people around me....In ways, my career goal is shaped by my determination to give back to community. I will attend Stevens Institute of Technology with a major in Civil Engineering and a minor in Environmental Science (with a goal of) minimizing the effects of global warming and to bring clean water to communities that do not have access. I am thankful to have been part of Interact Club for all four years of my high school career. It definitely helped shape me into a better person and nurture my passion in service."  Yanqing Liang

The Plainfield-North Plainfield Rotary Club is open to membership by business and community leaders in the Plainfield’s and in the surrounding towns. Club members meet Wednesday’s for a luncheon meeting at Giovanna’s Restaurant, 1462 South Avenue, Plainfield. Anyone wishing to learn more about Rotary and the many opportunities to volunteer assistance to the Rotary Club should come to a meeting as a guest of the lub, or contact the club through PNPRotary@gmail.com or call 908-822-1441.